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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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November 15, 2018
Contact: Chris Donley, 509-892-1001

Steelhead fishing to remain open in the Snake River

OLYMPIA – Steelhead fishing on the Snake River and tributaries will remain open in Washington despite a statewide steelhead fishery closure next month in neighboring Idaho, fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said today.

The Snake River serves as a shared boundary water between Idaho and Washington from Clarkston upstream to the Oregon border. This stretch of the Snake River will still be open to fishing for steelhead after Idaho closes Dec. 7. All anglers fishing for steelhead in this portion of the Snake River will be required to possess a Washington fishing license and catch record card if they are fishing for steelhead.

Idaho is closing its steelhead fishery in response to a threatened lawsuit from six environmental organizations over an administrative oversight. Idaho's Endangered Species Act fishery permitting, which is required to recreationally fish in areas where there are threatened or endangered steelhead, is pending with the federal government.

Chris Donley, regional fish program manager for WDFW, said that Washington's ESA fishery permitting is current and the state is meeting its conservation objectives under those permits.

"We've taken a number of conservation actions to protect steelhead this year," Donley said.

For example, in August WDFW closed sections of the mainstem Columbia River to steelhead fishing to protect steelhead runs returning to the Snake River, the largest tributary of the Columbia. The department also reduced the daily catch limit for steelhead to one hatchery fish on the Snake River.

For more information on regulations, anglers should check Washington's 2018-19 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet and emergency rules website at